Finance in the News: Suze Orman Introduces “The Approved Card from Suze Orman” – a Prepaid Debit Card

The Wall Street Journal article “Invasion of the Star-Studded Debit Cards” presents Suze Orman as the latest celebrity to introduce a prepaid debit card.   Ms. Orman follows in the steps of hip-hop mogul Russell Simmons and the Kardashians (although, the Kardashian Kard was pulled after Kourtney, Khloe, and Kim pulled their endorsement just before the card went public).

Orman claims her card is “better than cash” and “safer than cash” and went on to say in the MSNBC article, “The truth behind Suze Orman’s new debit card,” “I decided to create The Approved card after I heard from so many people who were being taken advantage of by the tricks and traps of the banking industry. I want to help people who need a low-cost alternative to what’s out there, and who want to manage their money responsibly.”

To say the least, she has created a real controversy, she’s been criticized by some who question whether someone peddling advice, should also use their name for money making schemes.  In addition, some have questioned whether “The Approved Card from Suze Orman” (which is the name printed on the card) is as good as she says it is, she has responded by calling them “idiots.”

To say the least, there has been a lot written about it lately, and as you know from Principle 1: The Best Protection is Knowledge, you want to know about any financial instrument before you put money into it.  Some of the more interesting write-ups on The Approved Card are:

From Marketplace Your Money, “Suze debuts new show, new card” (By the way, one of the fellows Suze calls “an idiot” is Odysseas Papadimitriou, chief executive of CardHub, and a former executive with Capital One.)

From USA Today, “Suze or not, look closely at celebrities’ prepaid cards”

From Reuters columnist John Wasik, “The troubling fine print of Suze”

From SmartMoney, “Sizing Up Suze Orman’s New Prepaid Card”

From Consumer Reports, “Suze Orman comes out with her own prepaid debit card”

From CardHub.com, “Suze Orman Prepaid Card Evaluation”

From TheBottomLine on msnbc.com, Herb Weisbaum, The Consumer Man, “The truth behind Suze Orman’s new debit card”

And Suze’ presentation of the card’s benefits on “The Approved Card Website”

Discussion questions:

1.  Will the card improve your credit history? To answer this, check out Herb Weisbaum’s The Consumer Man blog, “The truth behind Suze Orman’s new debit card.”  Prepare a short write-up answering this question.

2.  What is your opinion of The Approved Card?  Who do you think it might be appropriate for and why?  Prepare a short write-up answering this question.

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